Clarity First Newsletter,
October 25, 2019

“Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of evolution is its ability to generate cooperation in a competitive world.” – Martin Nowak


Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

These are very scary times. But I do take comfort in reminding myself that in nature cooperation reigns.

Happy Friday.

Packaging, Corporate Responsibility

10 companies join new initiative to reduce packaging’s impacts on forests, species and climate.

“Apparel companies ASOS, Gina Tricot, H&M, Kontoor, QLOTHÈ, Reformation, TOMS, VF Corporation and ZILVER; and global marketing execution partner HH Global — are joining forces with environmental not-for-profit Canopy for its new Pack4Good initiative, which aims to mitigate the impacts of the world’s packaging supply chain on forests.

“New research has found that roughly three billion trees disappear into packaging every year — a sourcing practice that leaves in its wake a trail of deforestation, degraded forest ecosystems, threatened species and an increasingly volatile climate. This is the impetus behind Pack4Good, the goal of which is to curb the world’s voracious appetite for packaging; and to ensure that shipping boxes, wrappers, disposable cups and other forest-based packaging originate from recycled inputs and next-generation solutions, rather than the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests.”

Article: Collaborations Fostering Next-Gen Solutions for Coffee Cups, Paper Packaging


The man who showed that differences between human groups are often the result of their distinctive cultural environments, rather than inherited biological traits.

“(His) ideas challenged prevailing conceptions of racial and social hierarchy. Where the natural sciences had taught that humans were divided into fixed, biological types, Boas argued that the data called for a more nuanced account of human difference. Contrary to the dispensations of social Darwinism, he contended, differences observed across human groups—from the physical to the cognitive and social—were often the result of their distinctive cultural environments, rather than inherited biological traits. His many influential students would extend this insight to other categories used to sort people. For them, all observable differences—in sexual mores, in religious beliefs, in everyday customs—reflected the variety of ways humans had devised for living, no one way superior to any other. ‘Cultural relativism,’ as it became known, was born.”

Book Review: Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century

Creative Process

A simple exercise that helps you distinguish between the discomforts that hold you back and those that nourish your growth and expansion

“‘Discomfort as Creative Fuel’ can help you distinguish between the discomforts that stifle you and the ones that are natural effects of extending yourself to become the creative person you long to be. Understanding discomfort as part of the creative process can transform it from something that extinguishes your creative passion into something that ignites it.
This exercise combines breath work and visualization with journaling. Although it’s described here for writers, it’s useful for all creative types. A coach can guide a group or individual client through the exercise and/or you can practice it on your own. Paper, pen or pencil, and a comfortable place to sit are all that’s needed.”

Article: Discomfort as Creative Fuel

Creative Process

How six colored hats can change the way you solve problems

“The Six Thinking Hats is a system designed by Edward de Bono, a Maltese physician, psychologist and author, that is widely taught in business schools as a tool for group discussions and individual creative thinking and it is, in my opinion, a great resource for innovative leaders.

“The Six Thinking Hats technique helps individuals and groups broaden their thinking by considering problems and ideas from a variety of perspectives, and is based on the old saying, “put your thinking hat on.” It involves the user visualising six different hats, each a different colour to depict a specific focus or way of thinking that needs to be considered. In practice, the technique involves an individual or group figuratively “wearing” each hat in turn, fully exploring the mode of thinking it represents and then switching to the next hat.”

Article: The Importance of Creative Thinking


The next step is to win elections and enter government.

“A new campaign from advocacy organization The Leap is calling on progressives around the world to organize to take over federal governments and wield their power to address the climate crisis and other pressing global issues.”

“Narrated by actor and activist Danny Glover, the video asks activists to use democratic power to push for the implementation of the big ideas driving contemporary progressive movements.”

Article: ‘This Is How We Change the World’: To Address Climate Crisis, Video Explains, Democracy Movements Must Rise

Product Design, Materials

Cork is not just for wine bottles anymore.

“With the wave of sustainable designs taking steam, more and more designers are looking at cork to create flooring, walls, furniture, tableware, clothing, even NASA uses it for the isolation of their space shuttles. The industry is coming to realize that cork is a very resistant waterproof material and of course eco-friendly since its extraction doesn’t harm trees as the barks just grow back.”

Article: Cork-Based Product Designs That Show Why This Sustainable Material Is Trending


“There’s never been a better time to find the right fonts for your projects.”

DIN Next by Monotype

“We’ve done a little research to uncover the top 20 typefaces that are proving popular with graphic designers and those we think will be a big hit in 2020.”

Article: Top 20 Fonts That Will Be Popular with Designers in 2020


Once again I find myself drawn to Rachelle Cordova and her ‘Reina del Cid featuring Toni Lindgren’ band. Since Ric Ocasek passed I’ve been looking for a way to honor his amazing contribution to music. Boston has always been my home city, and the new wave rock that was made in that town in the late 70s is a part of me.

So I was very happy when two of my favorite musicians posted a note for note cover of the Cars’ Just What I Needed this week.

While this song was written for digital instruments, Rachelle and Toni nail it on their acoustic guitars, with no effects. This is what loving a song sounds like.

Video: The Cars – Just What I Needed cover

Image of the week

The image of the week is a still from the film America (2018), directed by Garrett Bradley.

“Since 2014, filmmaker Garrett Bradley has been deeply invested in archives both lost and extant. It was that year that she first learned about Lime Kiln Club Field Day, one of the earliest feature films with an all-Black cast. It was shot in 1913 but abandoned by its white producers, until years later MoMA curator Ron Magliozzi unearthed its unlabelled, unedited footage from the museum’s vaults. Fascinated by the film, and spurred by a report from the Library of Congress on the tenuous physical state of early cinematic works, Bradley embarked on a years-long project to start filling the gaps that existed in the LOC’s archives of Black cinema. The result is a black-and-white cinematic omnibus entitled America, which currently exists as both a 30-minute short and a multi-channel installation. Composed of 12 silent interconnected vignettes that draw upon Black history, America is deeply rooted in Bradley’s adopted home of New Orleans, where she’s been living and making films for the last ten years.”

Article: Revealing Lost Archives of Black Cinema and Creating New Ones

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

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